The quality of the putt that I hit is inversely proportional to the amount of time I spend over the the putt at address.
That is how I beat back my minor putting yips, for the time being. It really is that simple; so simple that I’m embarrassed that I didn’t arrive at this technique sooner.
I still spend the same amount of time and effort reading each putt that I might have otherwise done, deciphering a starting line for the putt, putting in a few brief practice swings to get the feel for the speed required to get the ball a little bit past the hole. All of my waggles and weight shifts and fidgets and alignment done ahead of time.
Once I step in to address the ball, however, there is no longer any lingering over the task at hand. No mechanical thoughts about my putting stroke. No watching the putter go back away from the ball. No peaking at the hole during my swing or using my peripheral vision to see where I want the ball to go.
In the spirit of aim small, miss small, I focus my eyes on the very back of my golf ball, get the alignment stripe of my Anser2 putter nestled close to that point, and hit my putt. What happens next is beyond my control.
The simplicity of this new technique is wonderful. It keeps my putting simple, devoid of too many active thoughts. It is repeatable, giving me a much-needed putting routine rather than a random assortment of pre-putt dances and rituals.
Most importantly, this quick-fire putting method forces me to trust the line I’ve chosen, meaning that I cannot linger over the ball unsure about the putt I’m about to hit. Instead, this method instills a default confidence that I am taking care of what I can on each putt, and the result is out of my hands. There’s a freedom in that kind of self-belief, even if it’s a tad manufactured.
This has eliminated a lot of garbage from my mind and my hands on the putting greens. It’s not foolproof; I don’t make every putt now. I still occasionally make a bad stroke with my hands or my arms. It might seem a little extreme, but I was entering a really dark place following a dozen or so three-putts a few weeks ago, and this is works for me.
So much so, that I’m trying to find an equivalent routine for my full swings. One of the things we discussed at my most recent golf lesson was how valuable an invariable pre-shot routine is to executing a golf shot. My fears of commitment extend into my golf game, and I’m guilty of making swings at the golf ball without full commitment to the shot. Predictably, “Hit and Hope” produces terrible results with regularity.
Apparently, I’m not alone in this revelation that less is, in fact, more. In one of the recent episodes of the Chasing Scratch Podcast, the fellas concluded that their shots are better when they get all of their thinking done ahead of time, approaching the ball with an empty mind, fully committed to their next shot. Unofficially, I’m on a parallel journey to Mike and Eli’s journeys towards becoming scratch golfers, so I found it interesting that they’ve reached a similar conclusion for their own games.
Will this method work for all golfers? I have no idea. If you have questions, the best thing you could do is talk with a golf professional and figure out what works for your game. For the time being, I’ll be applying the KISS method to as much of my golf game as possible, because, it turns out that my mind my just be the biggest impediment to improving my golf game.